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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Case for Radical Transparency to Improve the Environment
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" -- Genesis 1:26

It's one thing to have power over the Earth; it's another to take good care of that gift. Dr...
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by Donald Mitchell

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been an essay rather than a book
I heard about this book through a podcast about being ecological and was really excited about reading it. I have read a lot about the subject and so was looking for something new for me. This seemed to be the ideal book.

The first few chapters are interesting and informative with new information that I was not aware of and I did quite enjoy reading those...
Published on 20 May 2011 by ASax


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Case for Radical Transparency to Improve the Environment, 3 Jun 2009
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Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" -- Genesis 1:26

It's one thing to have power over the Earth; it's another to take good care of that gift. Dr. Daniel Goleman has long been concerned about how people can become more aware of the trade-offs that affect their health, the purity of the environment, and the sustainability of the resources that are being wasted. Most of the rules of thumb we learn about what's best for the environment are wrong in many particular instances. As a result, you need someone to analyze everything very carefully and tell you what the net effects are of option A versus option B, much as details about food contents of packages help consumers pick the best choices for their families.

In this book, Dr. Goleman looks at the information challenges and how people have responded to being provided with better information. He makes an aggressive and optimistic argument that information alone will provide the basis for people to make more rational decisions about ingredients, practices, and eliminating waste. While I hope he's right, I think he's over optimistic. While Dr. Goleman doesn't believe that government has a useful role, it's entirely possible that pollution and waste taxes can provide additional incentives to make more appropriate decisions.

Based on many years of best practice research my students and I have conducted, I agree with his assertion that eliminating waste, taking out harmful ingredients, and upgrading the surrounding environment is more profitable than the alternative. I also agree with his observation that few business leaders realize these large profit opportunities exist. The current recession will hopefully encourage the emergence of better leaders who will find these opportunities.

Ultimately, you can eliminate a large percentage of ecological challenges by educating government and business leaders and managers about how to acquire the right information and make better decisions. I think Dr. Goleman underestimates the potential interest in learning how to do these things. Just because conventional schools do a poor job in this area doesn't mean that proper information and methods couldn't be quickly and well taught. Good leaders will seek out that learning. Poor leaders will see their organizations falter instead.

The book's main weakness is the title: Ecological Intelligence. That's more than this book tries to accomplish. But you will learn more than you know now about what more transparency can accomplish.

I listened to the recording of this book. I recommend reading the book instead. I found it to be hard listening. Dr. Goleman builds up his points very slowly and painfully. In a book you can speed through such sections. Orally, you just have to listen.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been an essay rather than a book, 20 May 2011
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I heard about this book through a podcast about being ecological and was really excited about reading it. I have read a lot about the subject and so was looking for something new for me. This seemed to be the ideal book.

The first few chapters are interesting and informative with new information that I was not aware of and I did quite enjoy reading those. Goleman puts forward the argument that although a product may claim to be "green" and ecological, we as the buyer/ consumer do not have enough information in order to be able to judge how that product has been manufactured, what resources have been used to make it etc. What needs to happen is that products need to display this information become "transparent" with their information so that the buyer has the opportunity to decide. The book continues with various other examples of where the buyer/ consumer is kept in the dark and is therefore unable to judge the ecological value of a product.

This is all fine and interesting enough for the first 100 pages or so. However, once Goleman has made his initial arguments and explained those, the book becomes a bit slow to read since he often repeats things he has said previously. Sometimes he goes off topic and I found it difficult to relate this new topic to the subject of the book. This meant that I skipped quite large chunks of the book near the end since I was simply bored.

I think this book is good and an interesting read although I feel that it would have been better as an essay since there is not enough content here to be that long. There is repetition and long-winded arguments that go off topic.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green skies thinking..., 27 April 2011
This review is from: Ecological Intelligence: The Coming Age of Radical Transparency (Paperback)
An absorbing analysis of how to become eco-intelligent with the help of a transparent economy.

The story begins with an impulsive present bought for the author's grandson that causes some anxiety in consideration of how the toy might be coated out of lead paint. This act of ethical conscience drives the main thrust of the book in consideration of the merits of product impact cycle assessments (ICAs) at each stage of the process from extraction to manufacture, from 'cradle to cradle', i.e. recycling. The psychology of what it means to be a consumer at the hands of the green industry is explored, especially the euphemistically named 'green-wash' otherwise known as the cynical promotion of minor benefits to disguise major disbenefits. The idea of opaque-buying derived from 'satisficing' (the fusion of "it will satisfy and suffice") due to lack of time, inclination, bother and knowledge is also explained.

By drawing on research into market 'information asymmetry' Goleman lends credence to his philosophy of radical transparency, by railing against the inequality of information between consumers and companies. It reduces smart choice and rigs situations in favour of the player with inside knowledge creating an unfair advantage. Instead the power of the internet as a tool that aids and abets fairness through popular feedback and specialist expertise sites is promoted as an antidote. These become oracles of advice and best practice in the form of easily digestible ethical ratings, such as Earthster and Goodguide. A rosier future of enlightened consumerism is then plotted where radically transparent product ratings at the point of sale could supersede the present "good enough" approach of low cognition shopping.

The green skies logic of radical transparency is that once market leading companies join the band wagon of introducing the triple bottom line of finance, ethics and sustainability into their eco-business models, the remaining bottom feeders will be persuaded to avoid selling their dirty wares and green-up for fear of not surviving. As a further positive effect, the more that businesses adopt the principles of ecological intelligence the more the costs of becoming green would narrow due to efficient market competition in open transparency.

Judging by the history of capitalistic markets, even the brightest economists have never been able to entirely make watertight predictions about the future. Therefore a slight muddying of le grande vision began to surface in how an information-based ethical road to fulfillment could work when the ethics of abstaining from unwholesome deeds (common to many spiritual traditions for example) are not widely shared "by choice" in the market place. In effect the power of eco-friendly purchases would rest in the hands of giant mother-earth databases.

There are going to be interesting times ahead for the green agenda, and I suspect a less pure shade of green might be the eventual outcome with conflicts about the validity, interpretation and most importantly, control and ownership of impact cycle assessment data, or other new ways of framing the information. This debate was not in much evidence here and was very much weighted towards a utopian vision, which I felt was the only down-side to the book.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hidden impact less than it might have been, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: Ecological Intelligence: The Coming Age of Radical Transparency (Paperback)
With this book Goleman seems to have tried to pull off a hat trick. After emotional and social we now need ecological intelligence. In my view, he fails rather horribly. I found this book both tedious and implausible. Tedious? He runs out of road early on, and even that road has been mapped far better by many others. Implausible? His thesis is that if somehow somebody could make available enough information about what impact every consumer item has on the ecosystems of the planet, customers would vote with their wallets and cause companies to become more ecologically wholesome. This supposes on the one hand that companies can track all the flows of material and energy that go into their products (which they very certainly can't) and what happens to them at the end of their lives (ditto), and on the other that buyers will spend the time and energy to seek out what appears to them the optimal choice between products each with their own multiple, varying, and debateable strong and weak points. This seems to me to be plainly unrealistic. I found the rather jolly-hockey-sticks tone and significant absence of critical analysis rather annoying. As I did in his other books, come to think of it. I would far rather read Hill's "secret life of stuff" two or three times than read this thing once.
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Ecological Intelligence: The Coming Age of Radical Transparency
Ecological Intelligence: The Coming Age of Radical Transparency by Daniel Goleman (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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